More than eight years after his passing, the late Pete Rodriguez of Bryan continues to leave a legacy of selfless service for Blinn College students to follow in his footsteps.
The Blinn College Foundation recently accepted a $15,000 gift from numerous community leaders to establish an endowed memorial scholarship in honor of Rodriguez. The Hispanic Forum of Bryan College Station and the Blinn College Foundation have partnered to memorialize Rodriguez for his service to his country, his beloved Texas A&M University, and his community.
“The Blinn College Foundation board is humbled to announce the Pete Rodriguez Hispanic Forum of Bryan College Station Endowed Scholarship after receiving many generous contributions from Brazos County leaders, businessmen, and friends of ‘Mr. Pete,’ or ‘Uncle Pete,’ as he was affectionately known,” says Walt Schoenvogel, Blinn Foundation Board Chair.
A 1933 graduate of Travis B. Bryan High School, Rodriguez began a 52-year career with Texas A&M as a bellhop at the former Aggieland Inn – currently the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M. In 1941, he joined the University’s Department of Chemistry, where he remained until his retirement in 1985, interrupted only by his service to the U.S. Army during World War II.
“We can think of no more fitting or satisfying legacy for our grandfather than to establish a way to encourage and support more young people to pursue higher education,” says Peter Rodriguez, Pete Rodriguez’s grandson and Dean of Rice University’s Jones School of Business. “He gave his whole life to that pursuit in one way or another and would be incredibly proud of this scholarship for Blinn students.”
In addition to his successful career at Texas A&M, Rodriguez is known for his contributions to philanthropy and society through the many committees, clubs, and organizations on which he left his mark. Rodriguez was a founder of the Boys & Girls Club of the Brazos Valley, Santa Teresa Catholic Church of Bryan, and the Bryan Bees baseball team. He also served on the boards of the Young Men’s Christian Association, United Way of the Brazos Valley, Brazos County Tuberculosis Association, March of Dimes, Bryan Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Bryan Ways and Means Committee, Bryan Reference Council, Brazos County Juvenile Court, and Mental Health Advisory Board.
The 272nd District Court Judge Travis Bryan III, whose family is the largest single donor to the cause, praised Rodriguez’s selfless commitment to the community.
“We all would do well to imitate Pete,” Bryan says. “He was a very humble, meek, yet powerful and influential man – one of the best Bryan citizens I have ever known.”
The scholarship recipient will be selected by the HFBCS and will be presented the scholarship during the forum’s annual gala in July. The HFBCS is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to unify the residents of the community, state, and nation to address social, educational, political, economic, and cultural issues that impact Hispanics, as well as every resident in B/CS. The organization has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships to local students over the past 14 years.
“This scholarship honors the memory of a World War II veteran, Bryan community leader, and longtime Texas A&M employee, while also honoring the HFBCS – an organization that has provided hundreds of scholarships to Brazos County Hispanic students pursuing a higher education,” says Phil Shackelford, Associate Director of the Blinn Foundation.
The Blinn Foundation supports programs and activities that enhance the quality of education for Blinn College students and expand the educational opportunities for the entire community. While raising funds is an important function, the Foundation also seeks to heighten community awareness of the mission and accomplishments of the College and to promote excellence in education. Thanks to the support of generous donors, Blinn offers more than 240 endowed scholarships valued at more than $16 million.
“We are honored this endowment has been established with the Blinn College Foundation to honor Pete Rodriguez,” says Jody Rodriguez, Pete Rodriguez’s nephew and HFBCS Board Chair. “‘Uncle Pete’ was a pillar of the community, tirelessly working to advance the Hispanic community and his beloved Bryan. This scholarship will ensure that his legacy will live on for generations to come.”
To learn more about the Foundation or to establish a new endowed scholarship, call (979) 830-4107 or visit www.foundation.blinn.edu.
About Blinn College
With an enrollment of 19,422 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu.